If yesterday's initial City reaction was any indication, British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh may well have pulled off a masterstroke with his audacious plan to tackle the UK flagship carrier's £1 billion pension deficit.
But it could still all go horribly wrong.
The pensions issue is the biggest challenge facing the diminutive Walsh, who is understandably keen to avoid upsetting his staff and risk a repeat of last summer's disastrous strike action which grounded flights at Heathrow. Unfortunately, the pressures have not gone away. It must be pointed out that BA has already reduced staff levels by around 12,000 since 2002 and last autumn it was announced that 600 management jobs would be lost.
The carrier now plans to cut costs by £450 million over the next two years in a move which is likely to lead to further job losses.
BA also expects its fuel bill for 2006-07 to rise £400 million to £2 billion, raising the possibility of further surcharge increases for passengers. Europe's third largest airline cannot afford to lose more customers, so Walsh has had to grasp the pensions nettle firmly but very, gently. Has he succeeded? Time will tell.
BA could easily find itself between a rock and a hard place. Walsh's plan is bold. Put simply, he now wants his staff to work an extra ten years. In return he says their pensions will largely remain intact.
City analysts are impressed with his proposals, which at the very least are viewed as a workable compromise, one which helped lift BA shares to their highest level for five years.
BA will make a £500 million one-off payment from cash reserves into its main pension fund - if employees agree to plans to raise the retirement age of pilots and staff.
Importantly, BA aims to keep a final salary pension scheme with no changes to pension benefits already earned and no increase in staff contribution rates. The City believes this could be key to union approval.
The retirement age for most BA staff, including cabin crew, would jump by ten years to 65. For BA's 2,500 pilots it would rise from 55 to 60 due to limits on the age of airline captains in some countries.
All well and good. But now the real horse trading begins. And not too surprisingly, unions have already started to rattle their sabres.
Brendan Gold, the T&G national secretary for civil aviation, was quick to dismiss Walsh's plan, claiming it would reduce existing pension pots by an average of £13,000.
"The proposal as presented to the T&G is both unfair and unacceptable and does not represent a starting point for negotiations," he said. "This may be legal but is morally wrong."
And there lies the rub. Pensions are an emotive issue - and all too often, collective common sense goes out the window.
Despite his months of consultation, Walsh may well find that his greatest challenge lies not in resolving BA's finances but persuading his workforce his path is the right way to go. It will be an interesting tussle.